Prêt-À-Poundo: Montreal Gets Its First Black Fashion Week

Montreal will host its first Black Fashion Week from May 15 to May 17 2013.

After Black Fashion Week Prague and Black Fashion Week Paris, Montreal is now getting its first Black Fashion Week, kicking off May 15 and lasting until May 17. The event is organized by Senegalese designer Adama Paris — who also organized the Dakar Fashion WeekAfrican Fashion Awards — with the aim to celebrate fashion while revealing the cultural wealth of the black diaspora.

The term "Black Fashion Week" recently garnered heated debate due to its racial implication. "Why not a White Fashion Week?” some have asked. “But Paris Fashion Week is already white!” N’diaye told Agence France-Presse. “We wanted to simply promote beyond African borders designers who are well-known in Africa or in their country but who don’t have access to the global market.” The event also aims to promote black models who are under-represented in fashion shows.

The catwalk of Black Fashion Week Montreal will be held in the unique setting that is Church of St. John Baptist in the heart of Montreal. The event will present the 2013 trends of the Black diaspora in 3 different worlds: JUST Fashion, ONLY Men & LIMITED Edition. JUST Fashion and ONLY Men will present the unavoidable ready-to-wear fashion brands & LIMITED Edition will present the luxury and high fashion of limited items. The evening of May 15, all fashion lovers are invited to the Black & Gold party, an dress code required evening to mark the start of the first Montreal Black Fashion Week. A fashion and networking rendez-vous in one of Montreal’s places to be : Hotel 10. The designers will present their collections on May 16 and 17 from 6.30PM, the fashion shows will be followed by a VIP cocktail combining press and designers and an afterparty.

WHEN: May 15 through May 17

WHERE: Church Saint Jean-Baptiste 309, rue Rachel Est Montréal, Québec, Canada H2W 2K7

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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